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California Leaf-Nosed Bat (Macrotus californicus)

Natural History

The California Leaf-Nosed Bat is a member of the Phyllostomidae family. They are 3 3/8 - 4 3/8 inches in length with a wingspan of 13.5 inches and a body weight of 12 - 20 grams. They have grayish to dark brown on the tops of their bodies with fur nearly white at base, with paler fur on their bellies. They have very large ears, and an erect triangular flap on their nose which gives the bats their name.

The number of California Leaf-Nosed Bats has recently declined due to human disturbance and are being considered as candidates for Federal Threatened and Endangered ranking.

California Leaf-Nosed Bats are found in Sonoran and Mojave Desert scrub habitats in the Colorado River valley in southern California, Nevada and Arizona, and throughout western Mexico. They roost in caves and abandoned mines in in small colonies of up to 100 individuals during the day, coming out at late in the evening to hunt insects including crickets, grasshoppers, moths, beetles and the occasional caterpillar. They do not hibernate or migrate but will die if their body temperature falls below 79 F. As a result, relatively warm mines or caves shafts are critical for its survival in the northern portions of its range.

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